The impact of snus on general health
An ever stronger chorus of voices is supporting the argument that snus is good for general health. And there is indeed support for that argument, even though it may sound very dubious initially.
Parliamentarians in several European countries, such as Finland and Switzerland, argue that snus should be allowed for public health reasons. The FDA in the USA, meanwhile, has recently classified Swedish snus as "less risky tobacco". In other words, there is a strong case supporting this dubious claim, i.e. that snus is good for public health.
How can this be though? Snus is surely not good for your health, is it? No, that's right. Snusing does indeed pose a number of risks to health. You can read more about the dangers of snus here. At the same time, the claim that snus is good for public health is not based on the assumption that snus is good for health, i.e. the personal health of any one individual, either.
Instead, the underlying facts that make the claim reasonable are as follows: Snus is less harmful to general health than smoking.
The actual argument, in other words, is that increasing snus consumption among the population can improve public health – if this is due to people quitting smoking at the same time. It is not the snus itself that has a positive effect on health, but the change of tobacco product from one that is more harmful to one that is less harmful. The snus thus acts as a smoke cessation aid, a view supported by a later Director General of the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, who argued that snus is a suitable replacement for smoking in Swedish publication ‘Läkartidningen’.
And these are not just theoretical thoughts, or pipe dreams (pun intended), either, but rather a development observed in reality and measured in studies. Tobacco-related ill health is much less common in countries where use of snus is more common, like Sweden, for example. It has been claimed that 200,000 fewer Europeans would die from tobacco-related diseases each year if the whole of the EU had the same levels of smoking as Sweden, where a large proportion of the population uses snus instead. It is also argued that snus can reduce the risk of certain neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's, but the evidence backing up this information is thought to be vague.